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The Hustle

Rapper Lil Yachty says he spent ~$100k on a lavish Disney World date, including a private jet and a Ritz-Carlton presidential suite. If that isn’t enough to get you shaking your head, let Lil Yachty himself take you over the top: “I regret it because we weren’t dating and it just didn’t go nowhere.”

In today’s email:

  • Flipping the bird: Linda Yaccarino, welcome to Elon Musk’s X.
  • Netflix can chill: We’re done calling it the “streaming wars.”
  • OK then: Reality-checking a $2B theme park in Oklahoma.
  • Around the Web: Funny pets, a self-destructing website, disappearing chippies, and more.

👇 Listen: To hear us discuss why “the streaming wars” are over… and ponder why we even called it that in the first place.

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The Big Idea
Linda Yaccarino

Can you name someone with a harder job than Linda Yaccarino? We can’t

People have been saying “RIP, Twitter” for months, but now it isn’t just some melodrama — Twitter is actually dead.

Elon Musk started the week with a hasty rebrand to X that got the internet outrage machine firing on all cylinders. And justifiably so:

  • Twitter wasn’t just a brand; tweeting was a verb: In the same way a tissue is a Kleenex, Twitter owned the action of posting on social media. That’s the branding “holy grail,” as a market research expert told The New York Times — and in a quick flurry of tweets (Xs?) from Musk, that cultural hold was flushed away.
  • The X logo is just a decades-old unicode character: “I’m looking forward to Twitter attempting and failing to trademark their new logo,” one academic wrote. The logo may be “interim,” per Musk, but that wouldn’t be great news either — it suggests another disorienting rebrand ahead for users.
  • The switchover was rushed: So much so that “Twitter” and “tweet” remain all over the place. The name and logo changed; to date, not much else on the site has. Except for the vibes…
  • People considering an exit were given another reason to seek one out: Already faced with the threat of Meta’s ~185m-user Threads, X has given new life to competitors Mastodon (surging again) and Bluesky, which trended post-rebrand.

BTW: Can anything “trend” anymore? Twitter’s 15 years of shared language is out, adding to the chaos.

This rebrand-on-a-whim move…

… isn’t making CEO Linda Yaccarino’s job any easier. She’s less than two months into a tenure meant to convince advertisers the company is stable and disciplined enough to be a good business partner.

All of this isn’t about to help her with that tall task.

Yaccarino is a seasoned pro, as seen in her framing of the X rebrand, but it’s a challenge for anyone to work on the defensive every day. She’s had limited time to put her own stamp on the company — one her boss keeps literally changing overnight.

Here’s hoping the rebrand at least came with some notice for Yaccarino, unlike the announcement of her hiring.

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eyeball wearing a hat

Alpha Delta Why? Parents are paying up to $4k to hire sorority mentors who teach their daughters how to dress, act, and behave online during rush week. Apparently, getting accepted to a sorority has grown increasingly competitive over the years.


TodAI in AI: While AI is everywhere, AI companies are not. Of the 43 US firms on Forbes’ list of top AI companies, a whole 35 of them are headquartered in California.

Sam Altman wants to scan your eyeball now: Worldcoin is Altman’s identity-tech startup and it’s now officially launched — outside of the US. Where available, users can visit an Orb (Worldcoin’s eye-scanning device) and gain a World ID, meant to help verify one is human, not AI.

Back to Altman’s main hustle, OpenAI: ChatGPT will launch for Android next week, two months after its iOS launch.

Played by ear: Spotify is increasing prices in several countries, with most plans bumping $1-$2.

Everyone copies TikTok, but now TikTok is adding text posts, a la X (formerly Twitter) and Threads.

Adidas has made $563m since May selling off its Yeezy inventory. Despite Kanye West’s antisemitic remarks, which led Adidas to drop the rapper, Yeezy demand was so high that Adidas couldn’t fulfill all orders.

No thanks: Microsoft really went to the sewer for this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles marketing stunt, offering up an Xbox controller that smells like pizza. Intentionally. All the time. (There’s a pizza-shaped scent diffuser on the back.)

We wanna be like Mike: Michael Jordan’s reign as majority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets is over after he sold some of his stake in the team. He exited at a $3B valuation after paying $275m for his stake in 2010. Charlotte failed to win a playoff series in Jordan’s tenure.

Build-a-blog: If you, too, like your growth like you like your produce, read the brand-blogging ebook stitched together by our storytelling experts.


The workplace is changing, and the next generation of professionals is looking for something different in their leaders. Here’s the scoop.

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5-year stock performance of streaming companies
Olivia Heller

So, can we stop calling it ‘the streaming wars’ now?

It always felt a bit odd referring to the competition between internet TV companies as wars.

One, because there are other, actual wars happening in the world. Two, because other industries also compete, but you don’t hear about the “burger brawls” or “coffee conflicts.”

And three, because, well, it’s really not much of a “war” between streamers anymore in the first place, is it?

Netflix is the clear leader

Boosted by its ad-supported tier and password-sharing crackdown, the company’s profitability and subscriber growth are accelerating as its competitors struggle.

Netflix barely even mentioned its alternative growth narrative — gaming — in its latest shareholder letter because why would it?

  • Other streamers — from Disney, to Warner Bros. Discovery, to Paramount, to Comcast — are now just trying to keep up with Netflix, whose stock performance is leaving the rest in the dust.
  • Competing platforms are now raising prices and cutting content — a necessary but questionable growth strategy, if you ask us.

Overseas operations, a large stash of pre-produced content, and non-reliance on linear TV networks have also positioned Netflix to better weather — and perhaps even benefit from, to the tune of $1.5B in production-cost savings — Hollywood’s strikes, which it’s blamed in part for causing.

Good news for moviegoers: The “war” against movie-theater chain AMC’s strategy to charge more for better seats saw very little combat. The company dropped the plan last week.

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Watch Now

How AI is flipping the script on search

Anyone who’s swung for some first-page rankings over the last 20 years knows exactly how hard Google runs shit. (It’s the emperor of education. The lord of exploration. Our real-life magic school bus.)

But now, as AI tech ushers in the next era of search engines, the future of learning is in flux — and some marketers believe Google’s dominance is on the chopping block.

HubSpot CMO Kipp Bodnar said that idea made his secret ex-Google friend take off their smart goggles and gurgle a deep-bellied laugh (or something like that). Zapier CMO Kieran Flanagan begrudgingly agreed.

The two friends discuss how AI is upgrading search on this episode of Marketing Against the Grain.

Listen in 🎧 →
Park that thought
theme park

Anyone can announce a $2B theme park — building it is another story

Vinita, Oklahoma used to claim the world’s largest McDonald’s, but its 29.1k-square-foot, turnpike-spanning point of pride is no more.

Last week, the town’s spell of obscurity appeared to lift: Mansion Entertainment Group announced plans to plant a $2B theme park about the size of Disneyland in Vinita’s backyard.

The American Heartland amusement park, Mansion says, will soon bring “Americana-themed” entertainment — and 5m+ visitors per year — to Route 66.

With rides spanning six themed lands, such as Liberty Village and Electropolis, American Heartland looks like a good time — in the renderings.

Will it ever be more than fanciful artwork, though?

Mansion says the park will open in 2026. That’d be grand for the families (and economy) of northeast Oklahoma, but it may be a tougher road ahead.

Industry expert Robert Niles runs Theme Park Insider, and his analysis raises questions for American Heartland:

  • How’s it getting financed? “$2B? That’s the current market cap of the entire Six Flags chain.” Niles says “even a $100m park would struggle to make back investment.”
  • … because how are millions getting there? The site is “miles away from any major city or airport.”
  • How can a park without popular tie-ins attract enough visitors? Disney World attendance is slumping despite the pull of Mickey, Marvel, Star Wars, and more. American Heartland’s biggest IP is… freedom?

The best news here: We all win no matter what.

  • If American Heartland gets built, we’ll have fun in a few years with the inevitable fried monstrosities on its concession menus.
  • If it doesn’t materialize, we’ll get to revisit the long list of foiled theme parks, including our favorite pipe dreams: Kansas’s Land of Oz and Virginia’s Disney America.
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📻 On this day: In 2008, the US government approved the merger of Sirius and XM after opposition from lawmakers and broadcasters. At the time, the two satellite radio companies had 18m subscribers. Today, it has ~34m.

🤣 Haha: The finalists of 2023’s Comedy Pet Photo Awards.

💥 That’s cool: This website will self-destruct if 24 hours pass without someone sending a message. So far, it’s been up for over 38 months.

🐟 That’s interesting: Why the UK’s fish and chips restaurants are vanishing.

🐿️ Aww: Nom nom nom.

Barbie work meme

That’s one way to get out of a presentation. (Link)


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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen and Juliet Bennett Rylah.
Editing by: Ben “Pitching an email-themed amusement park — any takers?” Berkley.

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